Stranger Makes Life Changing Donation to Autistic Child

Jeanne Sager

autismIt can be tough out there for parents in a world populated by folks who rag on our strollers, refuse to let us feed babies their natural food in public, complain about our kids' crying, and more or less let us know they loathe their general existence in the world. Forget all that for a minute. It's time for a healthy dose of warm and gushy in the form of an incredible stranger who went out and bought a child with autism a new puppy after the kid's dog was stolen.

John De Bartolo could have just shook his head about the state of the world today. Instead, when he heard that a little boy with severe autism hadn't eaten in days because his faithful friend was gone, he went out and bought Mariano Paredes a new puppy. Oh, and that's not all. The diabetic who is almost completely blind held a garage sale to pull together the funds to buy a chihuahua pup for the 9-year-old he'd never met before. If this isn't a story of what our kids can inspire in strangers, I don't know what is.

It's the kind of story we need to read once in awhile as parents to remind us that people really do understand the tough stuff we go through with our kids. It's especially touching for the special needs community, where I hear horror stories from Moms and Dads about getting the stink eye in public because their child is "acting out" (in other words: being themselves) or hassled because they have to work the system to get much-needed services for their kids.

Think it's hard being a parent in a world with all that stroller-hating, etc.? Multiply it by 100, maybe even 1,000, to reach the hard factor that parents of kids with special needs have when they're dealing with strangers. Maybe that's what makes this story just reach in there and really get you.

Or maybe it's that it wasn't just de Bartolo buying little Mariano a puppy. Apparently a Chicago cop whose own child is on the autism spectrum kicked in money to help the family, United Airlines flew the dog into O'Hare from Oklahoma for free, and a pet store has given the family $1,500 in services that include vaccinations and food for the pup. That's what you call coming together as a community to raise our kids.

Do you ever need a pick-me-up to remind you that strangers aren't just people we teach our kids to steer clear of; they can be wonderful folks too?


Image via BLW Photography/Flickr

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